The potential for bike riding across entire cities: Quantifying spatial variation in interest in bike riding

Lauren Pearson, Joanna Dipnall, Belinda Gabbe, Sandy Braaf, Shelley White, Melissa Backhouse, Ben Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Riding a bike is beneficial for health, the environment and for reducing traffic congestion. Despite this, bike riding participation in the state of Victoria, Australia, is low. To inform planning and practice, there is a need to understand the proportion of the population (the ‘near-market’) that are interested in riding a bike, and how this varies across regions. The Geller typology classifies individuals into one of four groups, based on their confidence to ride a bike in various infrastructure types, and frequency of bike riding. The typology has been used at a city, state and country-wide scale, however not at a smaller spatial scale. We aimed to characterise and quantify the distribution of the Geller typology within Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state of Victoria, Australia. Methods: An online survey was conducted in 37 LGAs in Victoria, including all LGAs in Greater Melbourne, and a selection of six key regional centres. Participants were recruited from an opt-in online research company panel with the objective of recruiting a representative sample of adults across each LGA. The Geller typology classified individuals as either: ‘Strong and Fearless, ‘Enthused and Confident’, ‘Interested but Concerned’, or ‘No Way No How’. ‘Interested but Concerned’ participants are those that would ride a bike if protected infrastructure were provided. Results: The survey was completed by 3999 individuals. Most participants owned a bike (57%), however only 20% rode at least once per week. The distribution of the Geller groups was: ‘Strong and Fearless’ (3%), ‘Enthused and Confident’ (3%), ‘Interested but Concerned’ (78%), and ‘No Way No How’ (16%). While variation in the distributions of the Geller groups was observed between LGAs within Greater Melbourne., the ‘Interested but Concerned’ group, reflecting people who are comfortable riding only in protected lanes or off-road paths, was high across all LGAs and all demographic sub-groups. Even though the frequency of riding a bike was lower in women, interest in riding a bike was high and comparable to men. Participants who resided in the outer urban fringe regions of Greater Melbourne had high interest, but low participation in bike riding. Conclusions: While there was variation in interest in bike riding across an entire metropolitan region and across population groups, interest was high across all areas and demographics. Our results show the potential for substantial increases in cycling participation, but only when high-quality cycling infrastructure is provided. Further research is required to understand the policy and practice barriers to equitable provision of protected infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101290
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Transport & Health
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Active transport
  • Bike riding
  • Cycling
  • Health promotion

Cite this